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Thread: timber to lumber question

  1. #1
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    timber to lumber question

    I own about 30 acres. 28 of it wooded. It was logged back in the 30's or 40's. My FIL has about the same. We were talking the other day about going together and getting some lumber milled up and split the wood. I have a lot of white oak and he has several hickory that we would like to cut.

    I talked to a guy the other day that has a woodmizer LT40. He said he charges 150.00 per thousand.

    What would be the smallest diameter log you could cut and still get quality lumber. I'm thinking we'll get it cut 4-6/4.

  2. #2
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    Billings Missouri near Springfield Mo
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    John
    Most loggers donít want to fool with anything under 12" dia and it would be a waste to cut anything smaller. You might contact your county extension office and have someone come out and help you decide which ones to cut. Sometime itís a good thing to thin the stand and give the others a better chance. They would be able to give you a lot of good info on how best to do it and I don't think it cost anything for them to come out. Donít ask a logging company as there not always a reliable source.
    Hope this helps.
    Jay

  3. #3
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    10" is as small as I would go, but being hardwood 12" would be better. By time you square up the 12" log it will lose a few inches. Then if you box the center(pith?) you lose more. What sizes are the trees you have? Any curves in the tree will create more waste.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Daugherty View Post
    I talked to a guy the other day that has a woodmizer LT40. He said he charges 150.00 per thousand.
    .
    I wouldn't even uncover the mill for $150 a thousand. I don't like to mess around with anything under 12 inches, I prefer 16 inch stuff for a minimal size.

    An 8 foot log 12 inches in diameter only yeilds
    Doyle: 32Bf
    Scribner: 43 BF
    International: 48 Bf

    At 16 inches it jumps to
    Doyle: 72Bf
    Scribner: 83 BF
    International: 90 Bf

    At 24 inches
    Doyle: 200Bf
    Scribner: 202 BF
    International: 212 Bf

    Which one would you rather saw?

  5. #5
    I would agree with what most people have said here (my family has a sawmill...3 if you count the shinglemill and chainsaw sawmill). That being said, for the money, I find its easier to hire a sawyer to come in and saw my logs.

    Size depends on the tree species. For hardwood trees, I don't cut anything smaller then a foot in diameter. For well paying trees like Ash, Oak, Spruce, Hemlock and Yellow Birch, I won't cut anything less then 18 inches in diameter. For White Pine, nothing under 36 inches in diameter. The smallest diameter I cut on the small end of any log, is 6 inches.

    Most sawyers in my area typically charge 180 a thousand for sawing...if you got decent wood. If you cut "fence posts" (small logs) they will often charge you a lot more for the inconvenience. They also like to have a 1500 bf minimum. Sure they will saw only 1000 bf for you, but you still get charged for 1500 ft. You might want to ask your sawyer. Also ask him how he wants the logs piled. My sawyer prefers logs on flat ground, with plenty of room to move his mill/truck around, and on a hard surface like a gravel road or someplace he won't get stuck. Since he moves the logs by hand, he likes to have the pile less then 4 feet high. He also likes all the logs in one pile so he does not have to move his sawmill set up once he's up and running.

    So why would you care? Well trust me, the guy sawing your lumber can do a good job, or do a bad job. The easier you make it for him, the better the wood comes out.

    There is way, way more on this subject, but way to much to type here. Please take the time to checkout my website. I have a whole section dedicated to a virtual harvest. What I did was go through the process of cutting wood from stump to sawmill. The pictures are small (dialup days) but the text describes in detail how to get the most out of your small harvest. I think you can get a lot of information out of this. The research and questions you invest in now, BEFORE you start your chainsaw, will pay you great dividends AFTER the trees are felled.

    I wish you the best of luck though, and watch out for those chainsaws. I got bit 2 weeks ago pretty good.

    http://www.railroadmachinist.com/Log_Intro.html
    I have no intention of traveling from birth to the grave in a manicured and well preserved body; but rather I will skid in sideways, totally beat up, completely worn out, utterly exhausted and jump off my tractor and loudly yell, "Wow, this is what it took to feed a nation!"

  6. #6
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    For last 5 years I've been averaging about 2000 bd ft a year with a little portable Ripsaw handheld bandmill along with an Alaskan. I slab the log into large cants with the Alaskan, and then those cants into boards with the Ripsaw. As others have said... the law of diminishing returns gets pretty brutal sawing anything less than 12 inches if you value your time. I can putz around all day working on 10" dia trees and go home with 150 bf ft or I can quarter a 34 inch oak with the Alaskan and slice the quarters into over 400 ft in the same amount of time. As was said, it also depends on the species. A 12 inch log might not get you much usable hearwood if it's black walnut for example which usually has a lot of sapwood. A 12 inch rock maple on the other hand would be worth if to me. Something special like osage orange, I'll take down to 8 inches or even less, so it all depends.

    When and if you do have a sawer slice up your logs (if you're going to air dry the lumber yourself as I do) make sure you have lots of clean DRY stickers, and a sturdy flat dedicated drying area or platform to sticker your stacks of lumber. I've seen situations where somebody paid big bucks to have lumber sawn, but then didn't have a clue how to properly dry it, resulting in a pile of very expensive firewood.
    Build it Break it Fix it ...repeat

  7. #7
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    Thanks for the help. I talked to the guy again and asked him about log size and he recommended nothing less than 15". He said that he would cut smaller, but you get a lot of "juvenile" wood that has a tendency to warp. I could easily stay in the 18 to 20 inch range with no problem.

    The 150 price is based on me pulling slabs moving logs etc. This is not a problem because I have access to a tractor and I don't mind the physical labor. He said that if he had to provide the helper it would be 180/thousand.

    What would you recommend to use for stickers?

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Daugherty View Post
    What would you recommend to use for stickers?
    I use pine or poplar. I eventually milled enough of both to make my own from logs, but at first I made them mostly from construction waste lumber and dumpster diving for cutoffs. Problem with using stickers sawn wet right from the saw is in SOME species you get sticker stain and a little rot where the wet sticker touches the wet board, but not always. There are many ways to sticker, but because of space constraints, my sticker piles are roughly 3x8 and about five feet high. I use 3/4 x 1 inch stickers roughly 18-24 inches apart. Here are a few pics...


    Build it Break it Fix it ...repeat

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by John Daugherty View Post
    What would you recommend to use for stickers?
    You use whatever wood you are harvesting. If you use Oak logs, you use Oak stickers, if you are cutting pine, you use pine stickers. Generally they will ask you right in the beginning if you need stickers or not.

    Another sticker option is cedar. No matter what type of wood you have, cedar makes a great sticker because its not prone to causing sticker stain. This is what I use.

    Sticker stain is a real issue and is real frustrating when it occurs. No amount of planing or sanding will rid the wood of sticker stain so its something to watch for.

    Here is another webpage of mile that has some great information about air drying lumber...

    http://www.railroadmachinist.com/Wood-Drying-One.html
    I have no intention of traveling from birth to the grave in a manicured and well preserved body; but rather I will skid in sideways, totally beat up, completely worn out, utterly exhausted and jump off my tractor and loudly yell, "Wow, this is what it took to feed a nation!"

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Fort Washington, PA
    Posts
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    Great info page Travis, that sums up the basics pretty well. Thanks.
    Build it Break it Fix it ...repeat

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